Amidst fears of violence spilling into Sri Lanka’s streets and the country’s security forces intervening, international pressure must be sustained, The Guardian argues in its editorial on Thursday.
“The suspicion is that [President Maithripala Sirisena] and his chosen prime minister [Mahinda Rajapaksa] hope to give the impression that Sri Lanka is becoming ungovernable and that fresh elections are the only solution,” the newspaper states.
“Mr Rajapaksa has already begun dishing out goodies such a cut in fuel prices. He is very popular though very divisive, accused of large-scale human rights abuses including in the bloody war with Tamil militants.”
Sirisena “may believe that Mr Rajapaksa’s priority is the progress of cases against friends and relatives, including his brother Gotabaya, due to stand trial shortly,” the newspaper says.
“Others think Mr Rajapaksa could use the premiership to overhaul the constitution so that he could stand again – or, worse, that Gotabaya, a feared former defence minister, might run.”
“Sirisena appears to have been taken aback by the reaction from the international community,” and “that pressure must be sustained” the newspaper concludes after warning that without a ‘negotiated outcome’, “violence in parliament could spill on to the streets” or “security forces might be encouraged to step in.”
“It would also be useful for the US and Britain, who support military and police training, to stress to security forces that this constitutional crisis must be resolved by constitutional means,” the newspaper further says.